Did Konami Just Botch the Metal Gear Online Launch?

Did Konami Just Botch the Metal Gear Online Launch?

Gamers across all platforms (except PC, of course) rejoiced today as the formal online component of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain went live earlier this morning. The update comes a full month after the calendar release of the main game itself.

To give credit where credit is due, the PvP aspect of the game is nothing short of superb; the mechanics are fluid, the matchmaking is quick compared to others ( Halo: The Master Chief Collection , anyone?), the classes feel well balanced at first glance, and to top it off, the gameplay is so good, that it is literally addicting. What’s not to love about Kojima’s latest addition to his own game that is literally the equivalent of video game crack? Well, to be perfectly honest…it’s missing quite a few things.

These missing aspects of the game are not game breaking by any means, but they can certainly create quite a bit of frustration and annoyance in its attempt to seemingly force you into a position where you are stuck until the end of the match. There are 5 major shortcomings in this multiplayer experience and, if they were included, would have made the launch that much more enjoyable.

1. There are no “Parties.”

Now I know what y’all are thinking, “Well, Erik, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a solo espionage thriller. It’s made to be played by yourself.” And to you, I say, “Well, wouldn’t the game be that much more enjoyable if you could fulton an enemy away with a few of your friends at the same time?” Case and point. There is no way to add a fellow gamer to any of the games without creating your own match. At the same time, creating your own match can be a hassle and create some frustrating experiences (more on that later). If Konami would like to give greater longevity to their game, then give the players what they want: the ability to play it over and over with their friends.

2. Loadout Lock-in

Loadouts have become a common theme in all shooters. Choosing your class, your weapons, and the perks associated with said class, have all become standard features in multiplayer shooters where you devise your own unique style of play based on the game mode and game map you are playing. The unfortunate truth with Metal Gear Online is that the game forces you, literally forces you, to select a loadout and a class within a certain amount of time. The only real benefit to this is ensuring all players spawn at the same time. Other than that, however, you, the player, have no way of changing the weapons or items you take with you into the game. If you wish to change these things, you have to wait until the round is over. This disallows us from adapting to the style of play that would be best suited for the gaming scenario and can frustrate the heck out of you, as it can make or break your overall performance in the match.

3. Shortage of Game Modes

I’ll keep this one short because it stands for itself; no deathmatch, no capture the flag, no unique characters only game type… I just have to ask: if all of these modes have been created, designed, and used before, why were they not included in Metal Gear Online ? It’s not as if they would have been difficult to include given the fact that these several game types all of have huge track records of success in every other shooter game that they are included in. So why, Konami, would you decide to leave out primary game modes and stick us with only three?

4. No Way to Back Out

While I understand that the community as a whole frowns upon gamers who jump into a game or quit, it is sometimes a necessity. Other times, there are disconnection issues. With that in mind, why was there no quit or disconnect feature included in Metal Gear Online ? Once you are in-game, you are locked in-game (might I add with the same loadout) until the match concludes. This suck it up and play requirement that Konami has inserted into the game only serves as a deterrent to players. As an example, if someone who joined the game attempts to quit to go to another game mode, but has no option of doing so, and instead decides to lollygag (yes, I use the word lollygag) around the match either feeding kills to the other team or some other version of trolling, there is no way to get this player out of the game. You are stuck with this player on your team until the match ends. Remember that lovely ‘kick’ feature from the Halo series? **Hint Hint, Konami**

Did Konami Just Botch the Metal Gear Online Launch?

5. Microtransactions!

The last issue I have with Metal Gear Online is stinginess. Not only are microtransactions included in the game in the form of “Pay to Progress” on elements like Forward Operating Bases (FOB), there is now the addition of FOB Insurance. Yes, folks, you read that right: insurance . The premise works very similarly to real life: you buy the FOB insurance policy which, in turn, guarantees you that you will be compensated for losses due to attacks on your FOBs. FOBs were the first major component to the online experience of this game, but with the addition of this insurance, it almost renders the entire premise of the FOB raids obsolete.

To top it off, though, this insurance isn’t just a one-time deal; just like in real-life, you have to renew it every time it expires . Not to mention, again, just like real life, it doesn’t cover everything you’d like for it to. For example, it will not cover abducted staff being held in the brig, wounded staff, or staff used to defend the FOB.

And yet, what’s most sad, is that there are still items missing from this list. I understand capitalism, I understand why gaming companies charge for their product, and I understand Microtransactions are nothing new to the world of gaming at this point, but c’mon, Konami….an insurance policy on our in-game product that you charge real money for? This is a new low, even lower than your alleged working conditions.

With all of this said, overall, the end-game material felt rushed and unfinished as a whole, but I feel that the multiplayer aspect was rushed even more so. The simple fact that these core attributes of the multiplayer gaming experience were missing is nothing short of disappointing and quite frankly, unacceptable in today’s online gaming world where user control over who you play with and what you use make the experience what it is. With Hideo Kojima’s departing, I remain unsure as to whether these features will be added to the game. I remain hopeful, but then again, realistic is the better word with a company so concerned over the bottom line like Konami, and we can only hope that they will keep our best interests at heart for what could very likely be the last ‘great’ Metal Gear Solid experience that we have as gamers.

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